Front Row

Fatoumata Diawara: NPR Front Row

Fatoumata Diawara Live From Webster Hall (full concert audio)

  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

One of the breakout stars from this year's edition of New York City's globalFEST, Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara had the Webster Hall crowd wrapped around her finger. Gifted with enormous stage presence and great looks, Diawara — who was a dancer and actor before she joined iconic Malian vocalist Oumou Sangare's band as a backup singer — put on a tightly choreographed set that screamed with energy and edged toward rock and funk. It's an evolution even from the way she presented the same songs in a far more sedate singer-songwriter style on her debut album, Fatou, which came out last year.

Now based in France, Diawara tends toward socially conscious lyrics in any case, but her globalFEST appearance had a special poignancy and urgency: As she noted during her performance, a new civil war, spurred by Islamist forces in Mali's north, has cracked her ancestral country wide open — and music has been banned in Islamist-controlled areas.

Set List
  • "Soncolo"
  • "Sowa"
  • "Bissa"
  • "Kele"
  • "Mon Afrique"
  • "Alama"
  • "Tounkan"
  • "Salimata"

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Anastasia Tsioulcas; Videographers: Christopher Parks, A.J. Wilhelm; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Video Editor/Assistant Producer: Denise DeBelius; Special Thanks to: Webster Hall, globalFEST 2013; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins.

[+] read more[-] less

More From World

Tiny Desk Concert with Sam Lee Lydia Thompson /NPR hide caption

toggle caption Lydia Thompson /NPR

Tiny Desk

Sam Lee

The singer found his voice by finding and preserving old British, Irish and Scottish folk songs.

Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk


A star in his native Portugal, Camané evokes melancholy with a silky baritone and elegant phrasing.

Colin Marshall /NPR

Tiny Desk


The Ukrainian acoustic quartet's music encompasses sounds and rhythms from around the world.

Stromae proved to the audience at Stubb's in Austin why he's a major star just about everywhere but the U.S. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

SXSW Music Festival

Stromae, Live In Concert: SXSW 2015

Watch the international superstar perform for a legion of rhapsodic fans at our SXSW showcase.

Colin Marshall/NPR

Tiny Desk

Bio Ritmo

The 10-piece salsa band built its career on dance floors, where it never fails to make people move.

Rodrigo Amarante performs a Tiny Desk Concert. Sarah Tilotta/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Sarah Tilotta/NPR

Tiny Desk

Rodrigo Amarante

A veteran of Little Joy and Los Hermanos, Amarante makes warm, tender music as a solo artist.

Yasmine Hamdan performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in April 2014. Jim Tuttle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jim Tuttle/NPR

Tiny Desk

Yasmine Hamdan

The Lebanese singer-songwriter is one of the most groundbreaking musicians in the Middle East.

Back To Top

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor